According to the top cannabis regulator in the state of Illinois, the marijuana industry is “recession-proof” as well as “pandemic-proof.”

Tori Hutchinson, the state’s marijuana regulator, discussed the legal economy during a recent interview with a Canopy Growth executive.

“The biggest surprise I think for people is that we were waiting to see whether cannabis sales would be impacted by COVID. And we’ve proven here in Illinois, even with our small program, that it’s recession-proof and it’s pandemic-proof,” Hutchinson said. “Our numbers in terms of our sales have been just through the roof.”

When legal marijuana sales began in January, Hutchinson said “it landed like thunder heard around the world because, even when we were preparing for any anger or any cynicism or any political fights we had to put out, you saw happy people standing in line, giving each other hot chocolate and food trucks pulling up and lines around the block that was sustained through really, really heavy winter Chicago days all the way up and down through the state.”

For the month of July, Illinois reported nearly $61 million in adult-use cannabis sales. This was a lot higher than the almost $47 million the state saw in June sales.
Hutchinson has said, “We were not doing this to make as much money as fast as we possibly could” but instead “we were actually doing this for people.”

“If we really were looking at this for the economic boom, we probably would be seeing a lot more money entering into the state as a result of this,” Hutchinson said. “What we decided to do was have an equity principle at every single measure of this program.”

“We’re really close to finding all kinds of new things, all kinds of new treatments for ailments that have bothered people for so long—for chronic pain, for cancer research, for epileptic seizures, for all kinds of things that the people of this country deserve to have research to show and deserve to have resources and money and things like that go into figuring out plant-based medicine,” she added. “That is an incredibly exciting time.”

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